Next month sees my boss celebrate 30 years working in legal recruitment.
I’m coming up to 26 years in the industry, over 20 years of that being in the legal sector.
I’d get less for murder you might say but why have we both stayed in a profession that sometimes is so frustrating that it makes you want to jump out a window and equally can be so rewarding (not just in terms of money) that it makes you feel warm and gooey inside?
I’m not going to lie to you – recruitment is hard. You’ve got to cover those hard yards, making sure you keep in touch with clients and candidates regularly over a long period of time. You ring a client Thursday and they have no vacancies, two weeks later someone resigns and there is a vacancy and you need to make sure that that client knows you well enough to pick up the phone to you and instruct you.
You get a new candidate who is looking in one specific location and three months down the line, they fall in love with someone who lives at the other end of the country and are looking to relocate. If you don’t keep in touch with them regularly you won’t know that.
Ultimately we’re in a sales job but what makes recruitment challenging is that your product has a mind of its own and will change it invariably. This is a recruitment absolute, just like the laws of physics!
People outside recruitment think that all we do is match CVs to jobs, a bit like a recruitment dating agency. That could not be further from the truth. We trade in information, we know our market, we keep in touch with important decision makers so that we know what their strategic recruitment plans are going to be and can find candidates ahead of the curve. We get to know our candidates well and keep in touch with them even when they are not looking. My corny mantra for new candidates is that that “a recruitment consultant is not just for Christmas” and now they are stuck with me until I pack it in! (unless of course they politely ask me not to!)
Basically, I get paid to talk to people all day. I see their highs and lows, listen to their frustrations, praise their successes and I’m pleased to say that many of them have become friends over the years. Ultimately, I’m in my job to make money and place people so we’re paid our introduction fee. However I never forget that it’s peoples’ lives that we’re changing with their new roles and I’m there to try and help them make decisions that are going to be right for them, even if this means that they don’t ultimately take the role I’ve got for them. People will remember good advice and hopefully come back to me again when they want to make their next move or even better, recommend their friends and peers.
So, have I tempted to you to consider a career in recruitment? Do you want to know a bit more about how we work and what we do all day? If you like the sound of what I’ve had to say, we are actively recruiting for trainee consultants and would love to speak to anyone with recruitment experience even if it’s not in the legal sector. Call me and I’m happy to meet you for coffee to try and explain this unique job that I do.
So as I write this, it’s Friday and this week I’ve had the inevitable mixtures of hair tearing and happiness, but it wouldn’t be the same without the highs and the lows and after all, I’m still doing it after all this time and I’ll be back on Monday for more of the same.